Dance team finds success with national’s routine

Sarah Loesch

The dance team came out of nationals this year with the team’s highest placement in USI’s history.

The team placed 5th in its division after executing its preliminary performance strong enough to move straight to finals.

The score was high enough after the first performance that the dancers did not have to do a second performance to fight for a spot in the finals.

Head Coach Amanda Mueller said not having to do a second performance was great for the team. It eliminated a lot of stress and gave the dancers time to relax before practicing for finals. They were able to go into their final practice focused and ready to fine tune the routine.

Confidence played a major role in the team’s performance.

Mueller said the dancers felt the routine and style fit them well this year, and they had the ability to execute it in the best way possible.

One worry for the team was the few minor injuries they were dealing with during that time.

Mueller said there is always that fear of a dancer making an injury worse by performing, but the team did not have that issue and the dancers were able to complete the routines technically and comfortably.

Mueller attributed some of the success this year, compared to past years, to the training the dancers had joined the team with.

A lot of dancers returned this year and the new members had strong technical training. Many of them were already educated in the type of routines the team does. This helps at the beginning of the year when the team does not have to go as in depth on some of the basic training.

“The majority of the team had already danced together,” Mueller said. “The new members who hadn’t just blended well.”

Coach Jennifer Guebert said she saw a lot of growth in the team this year. They were able to grow stronger in the style of dance that appeals to the judges of the National Dance Alliance.

The NDA standard for performance is 30 seconds of three styles of dance. Guebert said this works for the team as they are able to show their expertise in all three styles.

Now that nationals is over, the team can move its focus into its upcoming tryouts for the 2015-2016 team.

Mueller said the team does not look at dancers for their specific style, but they do test them in ways that will highlight their technical abilities.

One element the team takes into account is the new dancers’ ability to mesh well with the members who are already on the team.

Some dancers have specific areas where they excel, and the coaching staff really likes to highlight those and build upon what is already there, Mueller said.

Guebert said the team is going to be looking for girls who are dedicated to the team and are willing to do the work. The team wants to add dancers who have the passion and are ready to be a part of the USI culture.

“Hopefully, that way, we can repeat what we did this year or do even better next year,” Guebert said.